Friday, December 11, 2015

Monday's Lie & The Vodka Gimlet

Jaime Mason joins us today for Drinks with Reads matching her novel, Monday's Lie with the perfect drink. I recently met Jaime at Bouchercon where we bonded over chocolate eyeballs. Once you pick up Monday's Lie, you won't put it down. 

Well, this is fun. Drinks with reads. I like it. And what’s not to like?

In thinking about it, I hadn’t realized that a few key scenes in Monday’s Lie hinged on drinking. Dee and her brother, Simon, meet over drinks more than once to work and worry at Dee’s troubles. Dee and her husband Patrick have their marriage implode over Pinot Noir. And in one of my favorite scenes in the book, Dee pays off a bartender and pretends to drink quite a number of vodka-cranberries in a ploy to neutralize a meddlesome character out of her plans to find out what the hell is going so desperately wrong in her life.

I’m rambling. Here’s the plot synopsis of Monday’s Lie:

Dee Aldrich rebelled against her off-center upbringing when she married the most conventional man she could imagine: Patrick, her college sweetheart. But now, years later, her marriage is falling apart and she’s starting to believe that her husband has his eye on a new life...a life without her, one way or another.

Haunted by memories of her late mother Annette, a former covert operations asset, Dee reaches back into her childhood to resurrect her mother’s lessons and the “spy games” they played together, in which Dee learned memory tricks and, most importantly, how and when to lie. But just as she begins determining the course of the future, she makes a discovery that will change her life: her mother left her a lot of money and her own husband seems to know more about it than Dee does. Now, before it’s too late, she must investigate her suspicions and untangle conspiracy from coincidence, using her mother’s advice to steer her through the blind spots. The trick, in the end, will be in deciding if a “normal life” is really what she wants at all.

But for Drinks with Reads, I have to nod to one of the best times I’ve ever had writing – getting to know black ops asset, Annette Vess. She’s Dee’s mother and, although she’s passed away a few years before the book’s main action, she’s very much alive in memory. Some people even find her the main character, and I can’t entirely disagree.

Dee has to bring her back to life in her mind, to remember all that she taught her in order to unravel the mess that’s come from Dee constant denial of her true nature. And, anyway, Dee’s never been sure how much her husband always wished she’d be a bit more like her mysterious, wise, and witty mother.

And vodka gimlets were a thing for Annette Vess in Springtime:

As often as I cited her as the cause for my troubles, though, thoughts of my mother propped me up through the twitchy awkwardness of reconciling with Patrick. Unlike me, I’m not sure she had been capable of feeling graceless. Merely remembering her made me stand taller, and replaying the stories she told, and the way she told them, it guided me to the right things to say. He thawed when I mimicked her. So I mimicked her. 
"Hey, Patrick,” I said into the phone before he’d got through his rapid-fire work greeting. “There will be daffodil gimlets on the deck when you get home. So don’t be late.” I used my mother’s voice, which was more cadence than accent. “Today’s the day, I’m happy to say. But it’s bullshit this year. We’re going to have to wear sweaters. It’s not getting out of the fifties. Brrrrrr.” 
Patrick laughed, his younger-days, not-mad-at-me laugh that had been on leave of absence for longer than I’d admit. “I’ll be there.” 
“Or you’ll be square.” 
My mother celebrated the first bloom of daffodils with a vodka-gimlet party. The challenge was to drink the exact amount of Grey Goose and lime juice, and not a sip more, that that would leave you as sunny between the ears as the little green-sworded, lion-headed harbingers of spring looked on the lawn’s border. 
I smiled over our good-byes and sagged, both happy and sad, back into my office chair. I’d win him over first, then tempt myself back into line.

I liked the idea of Daffodil Gimlets used to shake off winter enough that it’s now a thing in my house. If you hurry, you could try one on, before the cold really sets in for Winter 2015. You know, just for practice before we come out the other side.

Let’s do this in 2016, when Old Man Winter gets ridden out of town.

Daffodil Gimlets Recipe:

1 ½ oz. Grey Goose Vodka (or whatever vodka you like best)
1 oz. Rose’s Lime Juice (This one is less substitutable. It’s gimlet-standard.)
1 tsp. powdered sugar

Add together over ice, give the whole works three stout shakes, and strain into a martini glass --- and you’re golden.

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